A vacation in AZ doesn’t have to be expensive. In fact, many of the things that are truly worth doing when you visit Scottsdale or Phoenix will cost you nothing at all. Phoenix hiking is some of the best in the country. We’ve got some great museums, too, and a day spent taking in local art or learning about Native American culture can be as much fun as a Suns game or a night at the concert. If you’re looking for family fun that won’t break the bank, you’ve come to the right place. Time for some ideas.

  1. free things to do in ScottsdaleCruise the Apache Trail. The Apache Trail is an old road (a stagecoach trail, actually) that winds through 40 miles of gorgeous terrain and rugged mountains. You can drive along most of the trail, but don’t forget to get out every once in a while to do some hiking or take a ghost mine tour. Phoenix hiking is a special experience because of the unique landscape and the excellent weather.

  1. See the local architecture. Phoenix is a gorgeous, architecturally diverse city. Be sure to see the Hotel San Carlos, and don’t miss the Art Deco-style Luhrs Tower. To get your Spanish revival fix, you’ll want to visit the Orpheum Theater. The Phoenix area is full of incredible buildings, and it won’t cost your family a dime to check them out.

  1. See the museums. A vacation in AZ just isn’t complete without a visit to a historical or fine art museum. It’s not hard to take advantage of free-admission days at the Children’s Museum of Phoenix, the Phoenix Art Museum and the Arizona Museum of Natural History. Other local museums are free every day of the week – like the African American Multicultural Museum, the Arizona Capitol Museum and the Phoenix Police Museum.

  1. Check out the First Friday Art Walk. On the first Friday of every month, downtown Phoenix becomes an open-air gallery and art store. Merchants line the sidewalks to show and sell everything from figurines and T-shirts to prints and original paintings. There’s no better way to experience the city’s people and culture when you’re on a vacation in AZ, so if you’re here at the right time, head on down to the Art Walk.

A vacation in AZ can really be something special, so even if you’re here mostly for the restaurants, the nightlife and the world-class golf, don’t forget to take some time to steep yourself in the local culture. Phoenix hiking and sightseeing won’t cost you a penny, and before you know it you’ll feel like a member of the community. Enjoy it while you can!